How to Replace a Compressor in a Heat Pump

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Heat pumps help circulate heat from a heat source to a chosen location, though they also can be used to move cool air as well. A heat pump essentially is a vapor-compression apparatus with heat exchangers and a reversing valve for interchanging the flow of heat. A compressor circulates and pressurizes the fluid in the heat pump while it is in a gaseous state, after which the fluid is transferred to a condenser. If the compressor fails, the heat pump will lose pressure. Changing the heat pump compressor is a fairly easy procedure that you can perform yourself, though you will need the help of at least two people to safely lift the compressor without damaging it.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet and socket
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Help from at least two friends
  • Red warning tape
  • Pipe wrench
  • Masking tape
  • Marker
  • Flip the heat pump breaker in the breaker box to shut off the main power source for the heat pump. Be careful to tape the breaker off thoroughly with red warning tape to prevent anyone from turning the breaker on while you are working on the heat pump.

  • Remove the five pipes located below the compressor, using a pipe wrench. Then remove the electrical wires from the compressor by unscrewing them from their terminals, using a flathead screwdriver. Be sure to label each pipe with masking tape and a marker.

  • Lift the compressor out of the heat pump with the help of two friends and carefully lay it on the floor.

  • Install the new compressor, reattach the wiring, then refasten the feed pipes.

  • Turn power back on.

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References

  • Forced Hot Air Furnaces : Troubleshooting and Repair; Roger Vizi; 1999
  • Photo Credit plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from Fotolia.com
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